HC signals green to resumption of construction work on WS schemes in Gulmarg
Srinagar, Aug 02: The High Court on Friday granted permission for completion of the remaining work of the much-awaited water supply project for Gulmarg halted due to a ban on constructions in the area since 2015.
The court allowed an application by the Executive Engineer, PHE Division Tangmarg that sought permission to resume the balance work of the project construction/upgradation of reservoirs for augmentation of water supply at Gulmarg.
The court observed that it cannot be denied that the work being undertaken is in public interest and deserve to be expeditiously completed.
“In view thereof, the applicant is permitted to complete the work regarding the water supply scheme as detailed in the application,” ordered the court with a rider that the applicant shall ensure that no environmental degradation is caused.
According to the applicant, the project was started in 2017-2018 after obtaining proper permission for the works under the newly sanctioned water supply scheme and permission had also been obtained from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA).
However, the project could not be completed due to a 2015 order by the High Court that banned all constructions and innovations in the area in the aftermath of the reports of large-scale illegal constructions in the ski resort.
Meanwhile, the court in the last week of July, hinted at making manufacturers of potato chips, biscuits and soft drink cans partners in addressing the solid waste management problem in the area under the principle ‘Polluter Pays’.
“Both solid and liquid waste management creates huge problems,” Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar observed while hearing a 2012 public interest litigation on degradation of Gulmarg.
The court was informed that a large percentage of the solid waste generated in the area was due to the wrappers and containers of chips, biscuits, snacks and soft drink cans manufactured by large companies including the multinationals.
The court was further told that these wrappers and containers are made from non-biodegradable material including metal, aluminum foil, and plastics adding “the other large component of solid waste generated is plastic waste from the plastic bottles used to market water, soft drinks, etc.”
The bench observed that there is no reason as to why all these (manufacturing) companies should not be called upon to utilize the statutory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), allocations towards the pollution they generate in Kashmir because of their activity.
The court directed the CEO GDA to identify all these companies and evaluate a mechanism by which these polluting companies can be called upon to contribute to the waste management in the Gulmarg.